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Over the last decade our partners have made server-centric processing the fastest growing and most prevalent IT service we provide. Recently virtualization technologies have slowed the growth in physical servers while our total number of operating environments (OEs) has continued to increase. While DISA has seen a proliferation of both x86 and non-x86 based virtual OEs, we offer a wide range of server processing options including Windows, different "flavors" of UNIX, and even Linux on the mainframe. From the smallest one processor virtual OE to massive multi-socket physical servers, DISA has the expertise and infrastructure to handle all your server processing needs.

The server workload unit, the OE

DISA delivers IT services using a variety of metrics. (For example, storage is delivered based on the number of raw gigabytes and IBM mainframe processing is delivered based on CPU hours.) These metrics also serve as the workload unit that drives pricing and billing. Server-based processing for physical OEs is delivered, as well as priced and billed, based on the number of OEs which is defined as an instance of operating system (OS) software. One physical server could have one copy of the OS installed, in which case the OE is the entire server. However, it's increasingly likely that one physical server could be divided into many physical or virtual partitions, each of which has one copy of the OS installed. The only exception is for virtual OEs running on x86 hardware where the number of vCPUs (and in some cases memory) drive the workload count.

OEs are sized based on the allocated processing power

For physical OEs, sizing is determined by the number of populated sockets allocated. A socket is defined as a connector linking the motherboard to the CPU(s). For this type of hardware, the number of cores on the CPU is not part of the equation. VMWare-based x86 virtualized OEs (VOEs) have their own rate category and are sized based on vCPUs and memory (when predefined thresholds are exceeded). As detailed below, some of our services are size and / or platform dependent and some are not.


The standard features, or Basic Services, of Server Hosting are recurring, rate-based services (standardized offerings).

Basic Services is our baseline mandatory service offering which includes the labor, hardware, and software required to manage the OE. It also includes the cost for the communications, Level 2 help desk, and the physical and administrative infrastructure needed to support the IT services we provide.

Basic Service rates are based on the processing power allocated to the OE, but are not platform-specific.

  • Level 1 – Reserved for use in FY16
  • Level 2 – Less than 1 socket (all virtualized OEs)
  • Level 3 – Equal to 1, up to 2 sockets per OE
  • Level 4 – Greater than 2, up to 4 sockets per OE
  • Level 5 – Greater than 4, up to 8 sockets per OE
  • Level 6 – Greater than 8 sockets per OE

Basic Services includes the following value-added services:

  • System Administration
    • Install, configure, and maintain the OS and core software components
    • Monitor the operational status of production systems on DISA's Windows, Linux, and UNIX servers
    • Manage user accounts at the OS level
    • Install executive software and associated patches
    • Tune the OS kernel parameters to optimize performance
    • Install and maintain the server security environment
    • Ensure compliance with Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs), Secure Readiness Reviews (SRRs), and Information Assurance Vulnerability Alerts (IAVAs)
    • Monitor console messages and system logs
    • Schedule and monitor backups for system files
    • Resolve referred trouble tickets
  • Security
    • DISA's DECCs benefit from the high level of physical security afforded by their location on military installations. DISA also provides a superior information assurance (IA) environment. In the transition to the DoD IA Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP), DISA has accepted Inherited Controls for a wide range of IA responsibilities and functions.
  • Level 2 Service Desk Support
  • Management software


Hardware Services

Hardware Services is a mandatory service that is billed when DISA provides the hardware. It includes the cost of the hardware itself, the OS (and any virtualization software if applicable), standard maintenance, and miscellaneous items such as racks and cabling. For legacy hardware, this rate covers the cost of depreciation.  There are occasional circumstances where partners are allowed to provide their own hardware; however, this is increasingly rare and requires approval from senior management.

Hardware Service rates are based on the processing power allocated to the OE, and are platform-specific.

  • OEs utilizing x86 chipset hardware - generally Windows and Linux OSs
    • Level 1 – All virtualized OEs (see 'Special note' below)
    • Level 2 – No longer used
    • Level 3 – Equal to 1, up to 2 sockets per OE
    • Level 4 – Greater than 2, up to 4 sockets per OE
    • Level 5 – Greater than 4 sockets per OE
  • OEs utilizing non-x86 chipset hardware - generally HP-UX and Sun Solaris OSs
  • Level 1 – Reserved for use in FY16
    • Level 2 – Less than 1 socket (includes most virtualized OEs)
    • Level 3 – Equal to 1, up to 2 sockets per OE
    • Level 4 – Greater than 2, up to 4 sockets per OE
    • Level 5 – Greater than 4, up to 8 sockets per OE
    • Level 6 – Greater than 8 sockets, up to 20 sockets per OE

Additional notes:

Non-x86 VOEs that utilize less than one socket are included in Level 2, but it is increasingly common for non-x86 VOEs to utilize more than 1 socket worth of processing resources. Therefore when a VOE (often referred to by their brand name, such as an HP IVM or a Sun Logical Domains) utilizes 4 or more cores which equals 1 socket on HP Itanium hardware or 8 or more cores on Sun SPARC hardware which also equals 1 socket, they will be charged Basic and Hardware Services at Level 3 or above depending on the number of cores allocated and how many sockets those cores equate to, using the level definitions. For example, an iVM (Itanium Virtual Machine) allocated 10 cores would consume greater than 2 sockets and would be categorized as a Level 4 OE.

Capacity planning and reporting are also included in the Hardware Services rate. Capacity reporting at the OE level confirms current CPU and memory resource usage trends. We collect and retain all this usage data to produce summarized reports for our partners.

As part of the Hardware Services rate, our partners benefit from regular technical refresh. We procure replacement servers from our capacity vendors to replace outdated equipment on a periodic basis.

UNIX OEs over 20 sockets are priced c-goal, outside of the rates for Hardware Service, but all other services are still priced within the rate-based pricing environment.

DISA has a contract vehicle in place to procure IBM AIX hardware. Since this hardware is unique and very expensive relative to HP and Sun hardware, it is likely that additional hardware charges will apply beyond the non-x86 Hardware Services rates.

Special note about Level 1 x86 VOEs:

The Level 1 Hardware Services rate for x86-based VOEs was developed as a consumption-based pricing methodology. The number of vCPU is the primary workload unit and virtual memory (in GB) is the secondary workload unit, when necessary. Additional memory pricing is triggered when the GB memory count exceeds two-times the vCPU count(s). For example, the memory thresholds for a 1 vCPU VOE is 2 GB, 2 vCPU would be 4 GB, and so forth. Additional memory above the 2 GB per vCPU is billed at $12.00 per GB, per month.

Eight vCPUs is the maximum size of an x86 VOE that will be provisioned. Partners that have processing needs in excess of 8 vCPUs will be supported on physical servers (which utilize Level 3 Hardware Services and above.)

Partners will notice that Level 1 VOE workload counts may not match the actual number of VOEs deployed. This is expected because the workload count for Hardware Services is based on capacity allocated, and not the number of OEs provisioned. For example, the pricing for a 4x12 VOE is as-follows: (4 vCPUs x $79) + (4 GBs x $12) which equals $364. (The 4 GBs is the additional memory above the threshold which is 8 GBs for a 4 vCPU VOE.) The workload count is determined by dividing the $79 rate into the total hardware cost of $364 which is 4.61.

Most x86 VOEs will continue to be billed Basic Services at the Level 2 rate. Partners with VOE configurations equal to or greater than 6 vCPU or 16 GB of memory will be billed 1.25 Basic Services for the increased infrastructure utilization. This covers the increased cost of communication hardware, cabling, and facilities (floor space, cooling and electricity).

The Level 1 Hardware Services rate applies to both production and Continuity of Operations (COOP) hardware. Dedicated COOP VOEs will be allocated the same capacity, and therefore the same workload counts, as their production counterparts. Shared COOP VOEs continue to be charged at 25% of production capacity.

Memory thresholds and pricing for Hardware Services levels:

  • OEs utilizing x86 chipset hardware (generally Windows and Linux OSs)
    • Level 1 – Two times the number of allocated vCPUs
    • Level 2 – Not used in FY14
    • Level 3 – 16 GBs per OE
    • Level 4 – 32 GBs per OE
    • Level 5 – 128 GBs per OE
  • OEs utilizing non-x86 chipset hardware (generally UNIX OSs)
    • Level 2
      • Sun LDOMS – 8 GBs of memory per vCPU
      • All other non-x86 VOEs – 16 GBs per OE
    • Level 3 – 16 GBs per OE
    • Level 4 – 32 GBs per OE
    • Level 5 – 128 GBs per OE
    • Level 6 – 128 GBs per OE

Additional memory for physical OEs and non-LDOM non-x86 VOEs above these thresholds is provided in 16 GB increments only and is priced outside the rates. (The amount of additional memory that can be added to each size server is subject to capacity constraints.)

Database Software


The Database Software rate covers the maintenance cost of Oracle Database Management System (DBMS) software. Oracle DBMS is the most prevalent database application among the DISA partner community. For that reason, we have established a specific rate for this software. Since all of our standard rates cover recurring costs, the license fee for Oracle DBMS (and any other software) is charged as a one-time implementation cost. Also, the cost of other database management systems is considered cost-reimbursable and is not covered by this rate.

Database Software rates are based on the processing power allocated to the OE, but is not platform-specific.

  • Level 1 – Not used in FY15
  • Level 2 – Less than 1 socket (includes most virtualized OEs)
  • Level 3 – Equal to 1, up to 2 sockets per OE
  • Level 4 – Greater than 2, up to 4 sockets per OE
  • Level 5 – Greater than 4, up to 8 sockets per OE
  • Level 6 – Greater than 8 sockets, up to 20 sockets per OE

OEs over 20 sockets are priced c-goal, outside of the rates for Database Software.

Application Support

Application Support is an optional service that includes labor support for the partner's application. (This is distinct from System Administrator support which maintains the hardware and operating system and is included in the Basic Services rate.) The application support function maintains production application processing at the system level, so if there is more than one OE in the system the Application Support rate must apply to all OEs. Put another way, this service provides support for the entire application, not just the OE where the application is running.

Application Support (and Web Administration) is a single rate that applies to all OEs regardless of size or the specific platform.

The following list identifies some of the functions that our application administrators perform on our partners' behalf:

  • Monitor production processing
  • Manage user account profiles in required applications and databases (for some workloads)
  • Build, maintain, and monitor job schedules
  • Monitor system or application logs as required by Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • Schedule and monitor backups
  • Resolve referred trouble tickets and process special requests
  • Change disk space allocation as required
  • Report system discrepancies and initiate corrective action for system alerts
  • Resolve job aborts, abnormal terminations (abends), and other errors during processing; restart production runs
  • Coordinate with the database administrators and system administrators on new and/or changed releases
  • Associate security profiles to jobs
  • Mitigate contention and/or improve application performance
  • Coordinate with partners on service interruptions
  • Manage, coordinate, and install application releases
  • Manage reports (i.e. custom application reports and tools such as CA-Dispatch)

Web Administration is another type of application support and it utilizes the Application Support rate. This service supports the labor to administer a web server and its associated software. Web administration does not include creating or designing web sites, nor does it apply to managing content on the web servers.

The following list identifies some of the functions that DISA web administrators perform on our partners' behalf:

  • Set up and maintain web servers
  • Perform initial web environment configuration to include communications and storage allocation
  • Coordinate with partner support staff to create or modify web sites; install, upgrade, and patch the web server software, adjust parameters, and modify permissions for users and groups
  • Ensure compliance with Security Technical Implementation Guides and Information Assurance Vulnerability Alerts (IAVAs) for web products
  • Schedule and monitor web server system backups
  • Maintain procedures for Continuity of Operations (COOP)
  • Implement patches and configuration changes to address web-related vulnerability scan results

If a web server uses Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) software, DISA will provide this service at no additional charge as it is included in the standard rate. Because system-level access cannot be shared in a Windows environment, web administration is a mandatory charge for all Windows-based web servers that use any web software other than IIS. Web administration is an optional service for all UNIX and Linux web servers because it can be done by the partner or their delegate.

One final note about application support labor services: All application support services, including traditional Application Support and Web Administration, satisfy the entire-system application support requirement. For example if an application that requires Application Support has six total OEs, including one web server, five Application Support workload units and one Web Administration workload unit (billed as Application Support) would satisfy the requirement for application support to be applied to every OE in the system.

Database Administration

Database Administration (DBA) is an optional service that includes labor support for the partner's database. This rate includes DBA support for any database management systems and the costs of database management tools (for Oracle DBMS).

Database Administration is a single rate that applies to all OEs regardless of size or the specific platform.

The following list identifies some of the functions that DISA database administrators perform on our partner's behalf:

  • Set up database structures
  • Perform initial database environment configuration for the physical layout of the database environment and storage allocation
  • Create or modify database instances; install, upgrade and patch the database software, and adjust authorizations and permissions of users and groups
  • Ensure compliance with Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) and Information Assurance Vulnerability Alerts (IAVAs) for the database product, harden the database for security compliance, and maintain VMS postures
  • Schedule and monitor database backups
  • Resolve trouble tickets
  • Aid in performance tuning and work vendor tickets
  • Monitor availability (DISA-provided) for database instances.
  • Develop standard procedures for the DISA Knowledge Management System, based on the proclivities of the information system and its associated databases

If our partners serve as their own database administrators, we must still ensure that their databases comply with the DoD's security guidelines. The charge for this service is 10 percent of the full DBA rate per database OE. The security fee includes the following services:

  • Consultative services on the STIG
    • Consulting is defined as providing STIG interpretation and clarification to our partners. Consulting does not include performing Vulnerability Management System (VMS) data entry.
    • Assist partners in entry and validating VMS
      • Our partners have the responsibility to perform VMS functions
        • System/Enclave creation
        • VMS Reports
        • Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) entry
        • Designated Approving Authority (DAA) Risk Acceptance (DRA) entry
        • Update findings to proper status (Fixed, Open, Not a Finding, etc.)
        • Etc.
      • DISA will provide instruction in the use of VMS
        • System/Enclave creation
        • How to run VMS reports
        • How to input POA&Ms and DRAs
        • How to update findings
        • Etc.
  • Answer questions about how to handle STIG findings with respect to database requirements
    • This is defined as interpreting database STIG requirements
    • If DISA is unable to interpret STIG requirements, DISA will provide partners with FSO Support information
  • Providing US Cyber Command (USCC) Communications Tasking Order (CTO) mandated vulnerability scan results to partners for resolution

If we are serving as the partner's database administrators, there is no security surcharge as it is included in the DBA rate.

For any OEs that use Oracle WebLogic, we charge 50 percent of the DBA rate. While WebLogic is an application server (and not a database), since it's an Oracle product, Oracle DBAs provide the administration.

Our database administrators use Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM) Grid Control to manage our partners' Oracle databases. OEM Grid Control is a collection of utilities that automates a variety of time-consuming tasks, allowing the database administrators to use their time more productively. Our partners who pay the full DBA rate on their database OEs receive the full benefit of these tools. For example, the DBA rate includes the costs of the database administrators' labor, as well as the maintenance costs of the OEM Grid Control software that our database administrators use.

For those partners who use their own database administrators there is a 10 percent charge of the full DBA rate for management of the OEM Grid Control software This cost is in addition to the 10 percent security fee. The Oracle Management Packs are licensed on a per OE basis and the license and maintenance is charged directly to the partner.

Recurring non rate-based services (non-standard offerings)

24x7 services:  Due to a large variation in the actual cost of providing 24x7 services on a wide variety of partner applications, the 24x7 support rates have been eliminated for FY15. In FY15, 24x7 charges are being billed c-goal and the charge is based on the FY14 rate plus 10%. In FY16, the 24x7 charges will be billed c-goal and the charge will be based on actual labor cost incurred during FY15.

24x7 services still provide labor support and technical specialists on-site (vs. on-call) around-the-clock.  The standard rates provide on-site support for five 8-hour shifts weekly (e.g., Monday through Friday from 0800 to 1600). They also include a 2-hour response to emergencies on nights and weekends and on-site support for the monthly scheduled maintenance window. 

In addition, since it's not possible to develop standardized rates for every service a partner may request, unique requests are handled on a cost-reimbursable basis. For these offerings, we charge the direct cost plus indirect costs. This list represents some of the cost-reimbursable services provided to our partners, but it is far from exhaustive.

  • Non-standard OSs, such as Tandem Guardian, DEC VAX, or anything else other than Windows Server, Linux (Red Hat and SuSE), or UNIX (Solaris and HP-UX)
  • Unique communications requirements such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), community of interest networks, Demilitarized Zones (DMZs), dedicated circuits, dedicated enclaves, etc.
  • Certain test, development, or training environments that are not conducive to rates
  • The license and maintenance costs associated with application software including non-Oracle databases
  • Process-improvement teams dedicated to resolving complex issues across disparate hardware and/or software platforms
  • Software development
  • Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software that is ancillary to, but required for, the information system to work properly
  • Certain non-standard, partner-owned servers that DISA maintains
  • Certain extremely large servers
  • Subject matter experts who provide specific, in-depth knowledge of a COTS software product (i.e. SAP, McAfee's ePolicy, Oracle's Service-Oriented Architecture software, etc.)

One-time implementation charges

Implementation charges are non rate-based and billed at Initial Operating Environment (IOE) when we incur a one-time charge on behalf of a partner. They often include setup labor required to stand up an OE.